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By Margaret Mwantok
08 April 2015   |   5:05 am
Due to popular demand, the musical drama made another 13 appearances in six days between April 1 and 6 after its stunning Christmas outing. And for six days, enthusiastic Lagos audience was treated to breath-taking performance, as all shows sold out.
Saro The Musical

Saro The Musical

Light comes on stage. Colourful fairytale-like characters invade the stage with breath-taking choreography, songs and dances, with the throbbing of drums in tow. It is Saro the musical 2 gracing the Shell Hall of MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.

Due to popular demand, the musical drama made another 13 appearances in six days between April 1 and 6 after its stunning Christmas outing. And for six days, enthusiastic Lagos audience was treated to breath-taking performance, as all shows sold out.

A Bolanle Austin-Peters Production, Saro is a tour de force performance that takes the audience back in time in Nigeria’s musical legacy.

With good theatrical deployment, set design, lighting, the 100-man cast tells a story that is both sociological and philosophical. It weaves together the tale of trial, fortune, love, and destiny of four young men who set out on a journey to self-fulfillment from their backwater village to the drama city called Lagos to try out their musical fortune. I

t is as much the story of these four young men as it is the story of Lagos, it’s migrant Saro descendants from Sierra Leone and how they made Lagos their own city.

With its multiple sets, there is a convoluting concourse of variegated actions, with each reminding audience members that it could have been them.

The opening action is set in a village environment, with four boys with musical talent and ambition rearing to set out on a journey from their limiting environment.

There’s also the love story between Rume and Olaitan that hangs in the balance because Rume’s father wants her to marry another man that she detests. The scene is not only fast-paced, the characters externalise the powerful energy that this region is noted for. The scene opens with a group of musicians in a small village, who contemplates a sojourn to Lagos, a land filled with the famed gold and silver, in search of greener pastures.

The musical drama tells the story of Olayitan, Azeez, Obaro and Efe, four young people, who embark on a life-changing odyssey to Lagos with very little, but an abundance of hope and dreams, only to be duly reoriented by the experiences and people they encounter on their journey of self-realisation.

Olayitan is skeptical because he is scared of the unknown, and besides, he doesn’t want to leave his ‘girlfriend’ Ogenerume behind. Ogenerume finally convinces him to leave with his friends. Their story is a proof that love can overcome all obstacles. Numerous colourful and unforgettable characters, frenetic pace of living and endless drama of pains personify their journey to success in a harsh, unwelcoming city like Lagos.

Things do not always go as planned, in an unfamiliar territory, and they have to struggle to survive. Arriving Lagos city, they are faced with problems. With nowhere to go or sleep, they are robbed by ‘area boys’.

After a fierce confrontation with the ‘area boys’, and just as they decide to go back to their village, they get arrested by the police and taken into custody. But they have a shinning star even behind bars. In a cell with ‘area boys’, who coarse them to give a sample of their songs to entertain them, they improvise and thrill the ruffians, just when Don Ceeto, a music producer, arrives the police station to bail out one of his boys who was arrested. He hears the foursome singing and is arrested. Their talent impresses him.

Ceeto takes them under his musical wing. In the boys, Ceeto sees a vision of his ancestral migration. What is more, he begins the process of projecting his musical philosophy and a certain lifestyle through his new wards. ‘Every disappointment is a blessing,’ they say, as a new dawn beckons. Estranged Olayitan and Ogenerume remember each other at the same time with a wonderful love song, ‘where ever you are’. She is billed to marry Usman in two days, but as her thoughts wander to Olayitan, she decides to run away to join him.

To better orientate the four boys, they are taken to a church choir rehearsal, a scene that brings down the roof, with their melodious voices.

In This is our time to blossom, a music producer Derin Black enters the stage to examine the boys, and she is totally blown away by their performance. This eventually makes her to fix them in a concert.

In a never forget your root road trip, the audience is taking through a history excursus. Don Ceeto decides to take his daughter Ronke through the history of their origin. An old setting shows that they are from Sierra Leone. However, as a result of slavery, they are forced to settle in Nigeria, especially at Yaba, Olowogbowo areas of Lagos.

“Saro is a phenomenon, a passion. When the migrants first came, they settled around Yaba; they brought along a very vibrant cannibal… In Lagos we love to enjoy ourselves like during the Eyo Festival,” Ceeto narrates. A colourful and vibrant eyo dancers appear on stage to present the eyo skit.

“Boys, your sojourn reminds me of the migrants, you have the same determination as they did; I am pleased to announce to you that you have been chosen to perform at a concert.”

The concert saw performances from individuals and groups. A brilliant performance of Fela Kuti’s ‘Water e no get enemy’ sets the hall abuzz.

Saro the musical 2, as a lifestyle, tells the story of practical and daily happenings in our society. It is a motivational force for the youths who are either giving up on their dreams or have no one to support them. It is a proof that determination pays off in the end.

Although executive producer Austin-Peters has said a new production would be staged every Christmas and Easter henceforth, it will be hard to beat the sheer spectacle and dazzle of Saro judging from the large audience that thronged the show every day of the six days it was staged till two days ago when it ended. Perhaps, a tour of cities across the country would be well in place since some corporate support has started coming in, especially from telecommunication company MTN among others. So far Lagosians are sold to the Saro idea and would be ready to lap it up again when next it hits town.